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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2008 Nov;62(11):1318-25. Epub 2007 Jul 18.

Longitudinal relationships between occupational and domestic physical activity patterns and body weight in China.

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Carolina Population Center and School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-3997, USA.



To examine the longitudinal relationship between occupational and domestic sources of physical activity and body weight in a sample of Chinese adults.


Population-based longitudinal observational study of Chinese adults (4697 women and 4708 men) aged 18-55 from the 1991, 1993, 1997, and 2000 waves of the China Health and Nutrition Survey. Measured height and weight and detailed self-reported energy expenditure from multiple occupational and domestic sources were assessed over a 9-year period. Longitudinal relationships were modeled using linear random effects models.


Increased occupational physical activity resulted in overall lower body weight for both men and women (beta-coefficients (95% confidence interval (CI)) for high levels: -0.46 (-0.76, -0.15) for men, -0.36 (-0.62, -0.10) for women, and increased domestic physical activity resulted in overall lower body weight in men (beta-coefficient (95% CI): -0.40 (-0.62, -0.18)).


Physical activity that occurs in the occupational and domestic sectors is often overlooked; yet our research suggests they have important effects on body weight in Chinese adults. As China continues to urbanize, energy expenditure from these sources is decreasing, and our results point out the need to explore these types of physical activity more broadly across the world as potential sources of weight gain.

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